Combustion Brewery & Taproom Grand Opening Scheduled For April 15

Combustion Brewery & Taproom, located at 80 W. Church St. in Pickerington, is set to open its doors with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 15 from 11 a.m. until midnight. Food from Smitty’s Real Pit BBQ will be available all day and The Shaw Brothers will take the stage at 6 p.m. All of these festivities are to kick off the opening of this brewery and taproom focused on serving high quality, fresh craft beer.

According to Brew Master Keith Jackson, this project started in November of 2016, but his passion for craft beer began long ago. The Ohio University graduate became a fan of craft beer while in Athens, Ohio. He and hs friends started home brewing beer for fun.

After school, Jackson and his wife Sarah moved out west where he was immersed in the craft beer scene in Seattle. When they moved back to Central Ohio it was the perfect time for Jackson to begin pursuing his passion for craft beer. The Master Brewer of Combustion gained experience from working at Elevator Brewing Company, Columbus Brewing Company, and spent five years as the Head Brewer at Gordon Biersch.

“A few years ago I just decided I want to do it. Do my own thing,” said Jackson. “It’s kind of been the plan all along.”

Jackson is glad that he took the time to fine tune his skills and learn all of the tricks of the trade before opening his own brewery.

“You get a lot of people telling you that you should just go for it. But no, you really need to figure it out,” he said. “I didn’t want to be figuring out [opening a brewery] and trying to develop recipes and figuring out how to brew.”

Taproom Manager Andy Norris (left) and Brew Master Keith Jackson (right) at Combustion Brewery & Taproom.

Andy Norris, Combustion’s Taproom Manager, is also a long-time lover of craft beer.

“I had spent the last, almost 12 years at Whole Foods Market. Just kind of developing cheese and beer and food and wine. You know, the fun stuff,” said Norris. “I started looking into the craft beer industry just because I love craft beer and I want to be a part of it.”

When a friend of his connected him with Jackson, Norris was thrilled about the opportunity to dive into a career at Combustion Brewery & Taproom.

“I think it was a pretty obvious choice, especially when I got to see the bar,” said Norris.

Combustion Brewery & Taproom resides in the old Pickerington Creamery building that is over 100 years old. A staple and symbol of the Pickerington community, the building also houses Romeo’s Pizza. Jackson is very happy with the location. In fact, it’s rather ideal.

“Production at a dairy and a brewery are actually very similar,” he said. “It’s just a different product.”

Combustion will have somewhere between eight and ten beers on tap when they open on April 15, but in the future, they could have up to 20 beverages. The craft beers will include an array of American ales, Belgian beers, India pales ales, coffee stouts and more. Having worked multiple breweries, Jackson has experience with many different varieties of craft beer.

However, one thing will be consistent for all of Combustion’s brews, and that’s freshness.

“We’re focused on producing a wide variety of fresh craft beer. Just trying to keep the community happy,” said Jackson. “People are thirsty.”

The people of Columbus are certainly thirsty for craft beer. With over 20 breweries in and around Columbus, it would seem that there would be a fierce competition between all of them. But that’s not the case.

“There’s absolutely enough room for all of us and more,” said Norris. “I think we all have the same goal: to make awesome craft beer and to get people excited about it.”

Jackson agrees. Even with Brewdog located in nearby Canal Winchester, he sees them as a friend, not a foe of Combustion Brewery & Taproom.

“A lot of people want to say that they’re a huge competitor,” said the Brew Master. “They’re going to help our business. We’re going to draw a crowd from the local community, Brewdog’s going to draw, eventually, an international crowd.”

For those with a passion for craft beer a mug club membership can be purchased for $55. Members have their name added to a list and will receive $1 off all beer any day of the week, an extra $1 off regular priced beers mug club nights, $2 off growlers and crowlers any day of the week, and other exclusive benefits.

Combustion will offer its patrons a few food options, but a large amount of flavor. The menu will include Bavarian soft pretzels from Brezel, panini sandwiches, and cheese plate and charcuterie plates perfect for pairing with their beers.

There is a small play area with activities to keep the kids occupied while their parents enjoy a cold one at Combustion. The brewery hopes to make the entire experience an enjoyable one, which can be hard when your child refuses to sit still at a table.

The brewery also has a reservable room for private events. There are hopes to grow their event space, and time will tell if that is possible.

With just over a week before the big day, Combustion Brewery & Taproom is nearly complete. Check out the photos below to see the brewery before it opens.

“I’m just excited to have people in here enjoying our atmosphere and beer,” said Jackson. “I can’t wait to see the community come in and see what they think.”

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